With an executive order likely to be issued in September, I am being asked more and more often how undocumented immigrants can get ready to apply. The first thing that I say is not to pay anyone right now for legal help. Until we have some idea of who is covered by the executive order, it does not make sense to spend money on getting ready to apply.
There is one thing that anyone who thinks he or she might want to apply for a work permit should do, and that is to get a passport. You can get this from your home country’s consulate. If an executive order is issued, there will be a massive rush of immigrants to consulates to obtain their passports, so the sooner you can get the process started, the better. If you already have an unexpired passport that will be good for at least another year, you don’t need to get a new one; otherwise, get to a consulate as soon as you can.
If you need to renew an expired passport, the process is fairly easy. However, if you have never had a passport before, you may need to get your birth certificate and other documentation proving your identity to obtain one. Do not delay. Getting a new passport can take weeks, or even months, and waits may grow to six months or more after the executive order is issued.